Ontario Works

FAQ

Can I apply for Ontario Works if I am under the age of 18?

If you are under 18, without dependants and living with your parents, you do not qualify for Ontario Works.

If you are under the age of 16, without dependants, please contact the nearest Children’s Aid Society for assistance. You do not qualify for Ontario Works in your own right.

Special rules apply to all 16/17 year old persons who receive Ontario Works. The following set of rules will apply to you if you are under the age of 18.  Persons under the age of 16 do not qualify for Ontario Works.

Your living arrangements must be approved by the Ontario Works Administrator. For example:

  • living with a family or adult supervised environment where emotional support and guidance is available.
  • You must be a full-time student at an approved school.
  • You must be willing to pursue support from both of your parents.
  • If you are a parent, you must participate in the Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP)program.
  • You must have a Trustee who has been approved by the Administrator, to attend all appointments with you. Your trustee will receive all funds, on your behalf.
How often will I be required to meet with my Case Worker?

Most appointments with your Case Worker are scheduled to review your Participation Agreement and occur at a minimum every three months. The frequency of appointments is dependent on your situation and the type of employment activity you are involved in. Some people require more support from their Case Worker than others. You and your Case Worker will determine how often you will meet once you have agreed to your Action Plan. Other appointments with your Case Worker will be scheduled to update or adjust your financial file.

You might also be asked to supply documents  or to attend an Eligibility Verification appointment.  Your financial file is reviewed to ensure you are receiving the correct amount of financial assistance from Ontario Works. For this reason, we ask that you keep all of your accommodation cost receipts, financial institution statements, Income Tax documents, etc. once you start receiving Ontario Works.

Appointments made by the office will be communicated by mail and must be attended. You are required to advise the office and reschedule your appointment if extenuating circumstances prevent you from attending. You are also able to request and schedule an appointment to meet with your Case Worker at any time.

Do I have to work or participate in employment activities?

The only exception to this rule are single parents who have young children who are not yet old enough to attend school on a full or part time basis. Sole support parents with young children have the option to voluntarily participate in any of the employment programs and are encouraged to do so.

Temporary deferrals from participation may also be granted if a participant’s personal circumstances make it impossible for them to take active part in an activity.

Physical or psychological limitations to participation are also considered but only with proper documentation from a physician/psychologist. For example; Jane is unable to participate in an activity that requires lifting and bending. A review of her file indicates that she would benefit from further training/schooling. Schooling may be a more suitable activity for Jane, since lifting and bending are not required.

Your Outcome Plan is a legal contract that you must complete and agree to. Although your participation is mandatory, you are encouraged to develop your own plan, suited to your individual needs, which will make your transition to work more successful and meaningful.

All participants in the Ontario Works Program have a mandatory requirement to be involved in employment activities.

What happens if I find a job while receiving Ontario Works?

Finding a job while receiving Ontario Works is a positive event and you are encouraged to accept all employment whether it be on a part time, full time or casual basis. You should advise your Case Worker of this change as soon as possible. Information regarding the rate of pay, start date, hours of work and employer information must be given to your worker in order to avoid unnecessary delays in further assistance.

You will be required to report your earnings on your Statement of Income. If you have been receiving Ontario Works for at least a three month period you qualify for the Earning Incentive program. Each member of your benefit unit will be able to earn up to $200 per month without it impacting your monthly entitlement. Only 50% of earnings above $200 will be deducted from your Ontario Works entitlement. Ontario Works will also take into consideration, the amount of any informal childcare costs which you may have incurred due to work. You may also qualify for Child Care Fee Subsidy at a child care center of your choice. Speak to your Case Worker or visit the Children’s Services Section of this website for more information.

You will continue to receive Ontario Works assistance while working until your earnings with exemption surpass your Ontario Works entitlement on a monthly basis.

As an added incentive, the Ontario Works Program offers you Extended Employment Health Benefits. This allows you to receive the Ontario Works drug card for up to 6 months after leaving Ontario Works due to employment.

You may also be entitled to additional funds to help with the initial costs associated with accepting employment, whether it be on a part time or full time basis. These funds are issued based on your individual needs.

Will I be required to pursue child/spousal support?

Ontario Works requires you to pursue any and all types of income for which you or a member of your benefit unit may be eligible. Support from an absent parent or spouse is considered income under the Ontario Works Act. 

The Ontario Works Family Support Worker will assist you with support issues. The adequacy of any amounts of support that you may already receive will be reviewed.  The Family Support Worker will also assist in getting support that you and your children are entitled to but not yet receiving.

The Family Support Worker can either negotiate a private agreement with the absent parent or spouse if possible, or can support and guide you through the required court proceedings. 
The pursuit of support can be waived temporarily, such as in cases where the payor is incarcerated or in receipt of Ontario Works or does not have a source of income. Your worker will recommend a temporary support waiver, if appropriate to your case.
NOTE: You will not be required to pursue support if you or your children have been victims of domestic abuse from a payor and if the pursuit of support places you and/or your children’s safety at risk.

Can I own a car while I am on Ontario Works?

Yes. Having access to or owning a vehicle is considered a necessity for transportation purposes as no public transportation exists in the majority of the Algoma District. A vehicle is also considered necessary in obtaining and maintaining employment for those living in rural communities. For this reason, the ownership of a vehicle is not considered an asset when applying for Ontario Works.

In a situation where there is a family unit, a second or additional vehicle may be kept if another person in the household is required to participate in employment assistance activities or to maintain employment, and its value is below $15,000.00.

Will my Ontario Works file be closed if I decide to quit my job?

Ontario Works urges you to discuss any problems you are having concerning work issues with your Case Worker. Your Case Worker may be able to mediate with the employer or counsel you on other solutions other than quitting. Case Workers are there to assist you in making well informed decisions. Consider discussing this and any other employment issues with your worker before acting on them.

Keep in mind that persons who quit employment without reasonable cause may have their assistance cancelled or reduced. Your Case Worker will determine whether or not you lost your employment due to reasonable causes. Some examples of reasonable causes for leaving employment are listed:

  • Health Concerns
  • Harassment in the Workplace
  • Pursuing other employment
  • 
Travel Arrangements
  • Inability to Learn the Job
  • Returning to School or Training
  • Child Care Responsibilities
How do I apply for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)?

If you are a person in financial need and believe yourself to be disabled, you should apply for the Ontario Works Program to ensure that your immediate financial needs are met. An ODSP package will be given to you when you meet with your Case Worker. You can also obtain an ODSP package directly from your local ODSP office.

There are two sections to the package; one is for you to complete and one is for your doctor to complete. You have six weeks to have this information completed and forwarded to the Disability Adjudication Unit, with the envelope provided in the package.

NOTE: You are not required to complete the ODSP package if you receive Canada Pension-Disability or if you are over 65 and not eligible for Old Age Security. Contact your nearest ODSP office for further information.

The waiting period for a decision on your case may take time. You will continue to receive Ontario Works during the interim as long as you are financially eligible for the program.

The decision to grant or deny your application for ODSP will be communicated by mail. You have the right to appeal the Disability Adjudication Unit’s decision to deny your grant with the assistance of the Social Benefits Tribunal. Please read your letter of denial carefully for instructions on the appeal process.

If you are a person who does not require immediate interim financial assistance from Ontario Works but consider yourself to be disabled, you can apply for ODSP directly by requesting a package from your local ODSP office. Please review the ODSP section of this website for more details on the ODSP program.

I will be moving to another town. Do I need to re-apply once I am living there?

No. If you are moving anywhere in Ontario, you should be requesting a File Transfer. Let your Case Worker know when and where you are moving so that the necessary arrangements can be made on your file before you leave.

Once you have relocated to the new town, contact the local Ontario Works office there and they will arrange to have your file electronically transferred from the Algoma District to your new location. The new office will give you further instruction of your obligations with them from that point. Contact your Case Worker before you move if you are uncertain of the file transfer process.

I am temporarily caring for a child who is not a dependant of mine. Is there financial help for me to do so while this child is in my care?

Yes. You may qualify for Temporary Care Assistance through Ontario Works. Temporary Care Assistance refers to the basic financial assistance available to an adult who is looking after a child (under the age of 18) which they are not the natural or adoptive parent of.

The child in care must be in financial need and must only be in your care temporarily. The eligibility of the child will depend on the child’s asset level, income level and the inability of the natural parents to provide financial support and care. Ontario Works will not take your assets or income into consideration. You will also be required to co-operate with the Family Support Worker for the pursuit of support from the child’s parents, if applicable.

If you are providing temporary care of a child who is in financial need, please contact the local office to complete an application.

I am considering acting as a Trustee for a 17 year old person who will be applying for Ontario Works. What will be required of me?

A Trustee is responsible to act on behalf of the 16/17 year old Ontario Works participant and is also responsible to receive and administer the monies paid out by the Ontario Works Program for the benefit of the child.

As Trustee you also acknowledge and agree to the conditions of being a Trustee:

  • You will expend all money issued by Ontario Works solely for the direct benefit of the 16/17 year old
  • You will provide an accounting of monies received and expended for the 16/17 year old on an annual basis or as requested by the Administrator.
  • You have a responsibility to report all changes to the 16/17 year old’s circumstances.
  • You must give one month’s notice to withdraw from the role as Trustee.
  • You will not deduct money from the 16/17 year old entitlement as reimbursement to yourself for duties as a Trustee.
  • You agree to assist the 16/17 year old in learning how to budget their money
  • You may have your appointment as Trustee terminated by the administrator at any time.
  • You agree to act in the best interest of the 16/17 year old.
  • A Trustee should be someone who has the best interest of the person who is applying for Ontario Works. The Trustee should be willing to play the role of mentor, supporting and guiding the young individual through examples and leadership. Please consider your obligations seriously prior to accepting this very important role in a young person’s life.
  • You will be required to attend all appointments with the 16/17 year old in order to sign all legal documents that are necessary for initial or ongoing eligibility.
  • You will be required to sign an Appointment of Trustee form at the Verification Interview which declares your agreement to the above.
  • You must be over the age of 18 to act as a Trustee. Your appointment of Trustee will also be subject to the approval of the Administrator.
I qualify for Ontario Works. Would I qualify for any other programs offered by ADSAB?

If you qualify for Ontario Works, there is probability that your income and asset levels will allow you to qualify for other ADSAB programs such as the Children’s Services Child Care Fee Subsidy Program and the Housing Services Program.

Please take into consideration that even though you may financially qualify for these programs, each have it’s own set of eligibility rules, which you may or may not meet. Please take time to review the Children’s Services and Housing Services sections of this website and complete an application if you require financial assistance through these services.